The question running through Will's mind as he drove up to Emma's house was a fairly simple question: Where do you take Emma Pillsbury on your first date together? Or, more specific to him and his situation: Where do you take anyone on a date these days? It wasn't as though he had been floating around the dating scene in quite some time, and needless to say, he was a little rusty. Not that he felt Emma would particularly care too much. He had made reservations at a new local restaurant, one that avoided any of the bad memories with Terri.
He got out of the car and walked up the sidewalk to her house. Knock. Knock. A muffled voice from inside said, "I'll be there in a second!" It was more than a second, but less than a minute, later when the door edged open and she stood there in her front entryway, cocooned in a fluffy white bathrobe, a matching towel wrapped around her hair. "Hi Will," she said, a shy, demure smile on her face. "You can come in, you know. While I get ready."
As he stepped inside and placed his coat on the small coat rack inside the doorway, she continued, "There's tea on the kettle if you want some."
He shook his head. "I'll just sit out here," he said, easing down onto the couch. "You finish up."
"I will," she said, walking back into her bedroom and shutting the door behind her.
A few minutes later, after Will called the restaurant and made sure that his reservation was still intact, Emma walked out of the bedroom. "I'm ready," she said, picking up her purse from the kitchen table.
"Let's go then," he said, picking up his jacket and taking hold of one of her hands. He didn't realize it, even though he could probably tell, but Emma's pulse quickened as soon as he touched her.
When they got to the restaurant and the maitre d' showed them to their table – Will was privately thankful that it was in a secluded corner, away from most of the other diners – Emma's face lit up as she sat down and began looking over the menu. "It all sounds so good," she said, her eyes flitting over the various choices of chicken and beef and even an instance or two of chicken with beef.
"Have whatever you want," he said, debating on whether or not an appetizer would be appropriate.
After they placed their orders – Emma had settled on one of the chicken dishes she had had her eye on, and Will had opted against the appetizer but for "whatever she's having" instead – Emma scrubbed her forks and knife with anti-bacterial wipes. As they waited for their food, Will couldn't keep his eyes off of her. There was something how she looked in the flickering flame of candlelight that accentuated how she always looked, and she looked absolutely stunning tonight.
Emma still found it hard to believe that she was actually out to eat – not just a shared peanut butter and jelly sandwich from one of her plastic containers either - with Will Schuster. It was something she would have never dared to dream about before. Well, she had dreamt about it, sure, but she never anticipated that it would actually come true. And yet, here she was, sitting across from him at one of the nicest restaurants she had ever gone to.
Before they had to wait too long, their meals had arrived, and the ambient conversation turned into silence as they ate.
After it was all said and done, and Will had paid the bill, they drove back to her house. "You can come in, if you like," she said as they stood at her front door, her porch light left on from before they left.
"I'd love to," he said, and her eyes lit up at the possibility. "But I need to get home. Work tomorrow." She nodded meekly. The night had been so lovely, and she had held out a thin string of hope that he would come in. Any fears that the night would end in any other way were quickly ended as he leaned forward, tucked his hand under her chin, and lifted her face to his as their lips met for a good-night kiss. It didn't have the urgency of their first kiss, nor did it have the intensity of the ones from Emma's daydreams. But it was sweet, and held the promise of more to come.
They broke apart, each one smiling and savoring the moment. "Good night, Emma," he said, quietly, as he walked back down the sidewalk to his car. "Sweet dreams."
"Good night," she whispered, watching him leave and turning the lock in the door. After the night she had had, there was no way her dreams were going to be anything but sweet.